What is customer service and what does that have to do with ghost hunting?
I’m so glad you asked. The Collins Dictionary defines customer service as “The way companies behave towards their customers. For example, how well they treat them.”
Now I know every one of us has horror stories (no pun intended…yet) and stories that inspire when it comes to the customer service we have experienced. We expect great service from everyone we encounter from the barista who serves up our morning brew, to the cashier at the grocery store, to that faceless person you chat with when you contact your cell phone provider online, and rightfully so. After all, when you get right down to it, all we want is to be treated with respect and gratitude. That isn’t too much to ask right? Okay, I’m done with that. Obviously, when it comes to investigating the paranormal we aren’t selling anything or serving up a beverage but we can apply the Collins definition of customer service to the way we investigate.
Know Your Audience
I work in an industry where dealing with the public is a big part of my job. One thing I have learned over the years is how you interact with one person does not necessarily translate to the next person. For example, a young lady who walks into the shop may not mind being greeted with a “Hey how’s it going today?” That may not go over well with an elderly Southern woman. You would mind your manners for sure or risk a tongue lashing on a survey!
As you try and interact with a Ghost or entity use that same mentality. You might not get a response from a Civil War-era spirit by saying “What’s up Bruh, hit me up and we can chat.” But you may get a response by using some lingo from that spirit’s time period. What works in one part of the country may not work in another. For instance, up North calling a middle-aged woman “Ma’am” will probably draw a sharp rebuke for insinuating she is old, while NOT calling a Southern Lady Ma’am may get you in trouble with her also! The point is that knowing your audience can result in a better experience for you while you are investigating or on a Ghost Tour.
On a recent Ghost Tour that I volunteered to work with APS (which led to my desire to be a part of this amazing team), it was very clear that a member of the team was getting a lot of attention from one of the resident spirits in the house. The spirit was that of a little girl who really seemed to like the Tour Guide. The guide addressed the spirit by name and interacted with her as if she was physically standing right there. She had developed a rapport with the spirit by treating her with respect and kindness.
The spirit obviously felt at ease and comfortable enough to keep coming back each time the guide entered her space. Isn’t that true of us when we find that one cashier or customer service rep that knows our name when we enter the store and goes that extra step? I will go out of my way to get on that cashier’s line because of the way they treat me. Or, I will avoid them if I don’t get the warm and fuzzies from them.
What Not to Do
I’m usually not a complainer if I don’t like something or someplace; I most likely will not use it or go back there again. There was this one time that I went into a home improvement store (one of my happy places). I was in need of some help finding an item. Down the aisle, came an employee that I attempted to ask for assistance. Before I could even get a word out, he threw up his hand and bluntly said, “This isn’t my aisle, I can’t help you!” My jaw dropped to the floor!
As he passed me, he must have felt a little remorse. He turned around and asked me what I needed. But the damage was done and I told him never mind. As I was leaving, I stopped myself and found a manager. I told him my story which didn’t do any good really. I never went back. The funny part of all this was the employee was wearing an apron that read “I HELP IN ALL AISLES” !!!
My point here is that if you want a positive experience, do not ever antagonize or belittle a spirit as you see on some cable network shows. Don’t be rude or obnoxious, and remember that these spirits were once living beings too. Your experience will be that much better and have you coming back for more.